Finding Rosa Book Review by ChristineMM


Title: Finding Rosa: A Mother with Alzheimer's a Daughter in Search of Her Past

Author: Caterina Edwards

Genre: Memoir

Publication: Greystone Books, 2009

My Star Rating: 2 stars of out 5: I Don't Like It

Summary Statement: Not About Eldercare or Relationships; Dull Tone, Gloomy

The mention of Alzheimer's, and a mother and daughter in the title and subtitle misled me to think this memoir was something that it was not. Based also on the marketing blurb I thought this would be about getting to know her mother after Alzheimer's began and about her relationship growing after she began caring for her ailing mother. Having dealt with eldercare and seeing death and dying in three close relatives I was looking to read about that.

From the start this did not pique my interest so I put off reading it for over three years. I finally decided to read it and did read it cover to cover. What happens is the onset of Alzheimer's sets off a curiosity in the author, but not to develop the relationship or learn the past from her mother. The author is more interested in the social and political history of Istria, the island where her mother, an Italian, was born, and where she had to flee in her youth during wartime, during ethnic cleansing.

Traveling to Istria the author shares her journeys and research quests, made difficult by the fact that many records were destroyed during the war. Only by exploring the place that it is today and interviewing some elderly people and distant relatives does she come up with some facts and imagined scenes from her mother's life. I don't really care about Istria, but if the writing were different I could not help BUT care about Istria. Something missed the mark here.

The actual caring for her mother and the stress were minor parts of the book. The author became clinically depressed during the time she was caring for her mother and honestly, the tone of the book is one of gloom that echoes that feeling.

I prefer memoirs that reveal a lot about the person's emotions. Edwards seems to have a wall up, an emotional wall so parts of her are not revealed to the reader. Edwards wishes her mother were friendlier and warmer but to be honest in this tale Edwards herself does not come across as either friendly or warm. She is distant and seems to have held back. I prefer memoirs that are more raw and revealing, such as the writings on motherhood and the role of a woman and a writing woman's life by Katrina Kenison.

I rate this book 2 stars = I Don't Like It.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from for the purpose of reviewing it for their Vine program. I was under no obligation to review it favorably nor to blog it. I was not paid.
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